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Discuss: Are Film Budgets Too Massive and Out of Control?

Posted: August 17th, 2012 by WorstPreviews.com Staff
Discuss: Are Film Budgets Too Massive and Out of Control?Submit Comment
Directors like M Night Shyamalan, Ridley Scott and Michael Bay work with massive budgets, but do their best to deliver their films on time and on budget. And in most cases, they even find ways to save the studios money. Bay, for example, has close ties to the military, which does favors for him all the time.

But then there are films like "The Wolfman," which had a budget of $150 million for some reason. Sure, there were some special effects, but nowhere near the scale of "Transformers," which cost the same. Then there's "The Simpsons Movie" that cost $75 million, but looked just slightly better than the show that pumps out new episodes weekly. And the biggest offender is director James L. Brooks who needed $120 million to shoot the small "How Do You Know" romantic comedy with Paul Rudd and Reese Witherspoon. He just had to shoot the film in chronological order. No way around it in his mind. The film went on to gross only $48 million globally.

And even though there are massive budgets that are justified, director JJ Abrams still feels that they are all out of control, stating: "It is preposterous and embarrassing that movies cost what they do."

His movies aren't cheap either, with both "Star Trek" and "Mission: Impossible III" costing $150 million each. "Star Trek" sequel will likely be even more expensive. But at least he tries to keep the costs as low as possible. "I am as interested in and obsessed with what can be done in the feature world for a price as anyone at any studio," he added. "I feel like it is incumbent upon filmmakers today to treat it like their own money."

Meanwhile, James Wan (Saw, Insidious) keeps delivering film after film for around $1 million that are high-quality, fan-favorites and end up being the most profitable of the year.

Source: LA Times

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Displaying 35 comment(s) Profanity: Turn On
Quidd writes:
on August 16th, 2012 at 7:54:13 PM

Damnit Jim, I'm a director not a calculator.
bandolero999 writes:
on August 16th, 2012 at 8:08:31 PM

Wrath of the Titans,New Spiderman, and Snow white and the Huntsman were about 150mil budget and they were crap.
Ranger writes:
on August 16th, 2012 at 8:17:06 PM

Not as Massive and Out of Control as my d*ck.
pornfly writes:
on August 16th, 2012 at 8:19:19 PM

Ranger writes:
on August 16th, 2012 at 8:25:34 PM

Well... too massive. That's subjective.

A movie costing $200 mil. that makes a $1.5 billion is a deal. So if all movies make that kind of bank... the $200mil. a movie... ya see where I'm going with this (even you stupid trolls)?

So if a movie makes a profit (2x to 2.5x's cost, but studio's accounting practices), then it's a deal at ANY price.

Maybe for every $10mil. the spend on a movie they could send a retard (plenty of trolls on here to pick from) to summer camp. Let them learn to play the flute (real and skin)... from the bottom up. That would help a studio's image. Kind of like wiping your ass after a dump. It's not mandatory... but it's kinda nice when you do.

And the LA Times wrote the above piece? It had more jerks & pulls than son/daddy bonding night at PlasticGoofs house growing up.

I don't think movies are too expensive. I just think the should show a lot more tits for the price. I know... it's called 'porn'... but until the likes of Charlize Theron, Jessica Alba, Katy Perry and the like dive into that... it would be nice to see some boobage from da ladies.
pornfly writes:
on August 16th, 2012 at 8:27:59 PM

Its that damn Kevin Costner and his sh*t movie Waterworlds fault
and Big Top PeeWee

they used the news of their inflated budget as a marketing tool
Reality shows are starting to do that now with the high salaries theyre willing to pay has beens

The more expensive the train wreck the more people are willing to shell out their money
BadChadB33 writes:
on August 16th, 2012 at 8:33:20 PM

Yes and no, Like Ranger said 200 million and makes 1.5 billion, yea that's a money maker. But John Cater f*ck no!! Can't wait to see Mink's response.
Ranger- Btw I expect nothing less from you than your first statement lol
CelluloidMan writes:
on August 16th, 2012 at 8:34:27 PM

I'm guessing it's just the crew that takes most of the cost, but do the brunt of the work.

First the casting agents, storyboard artists, location scouts, which take months to setup, that's not even counting the writers they pay for rewrites.

Then the "doers" like technicians, special effects, boom operators, set designers/ builders, second-third unit directors, extras, costumes designers, make up artists, caterers & they all have to eat and they all have to rest somewhere, the closer to the set the better. This is not counting the rerecordings/ ADRs, orchestra for background music, and THEN marketing...

I totally agree with JJ Abrams, Bay, or Cameron on big scale blockbusters, but $120 mill for a unfunny romcom by Brooks & $75 mill for a cartoon they push out weekly for a fraction of said price?!! THE. STUDIO. IS. GETTING. F*CKED. OVER!!

SquirrelFlyer writes:
on August 16th, 2012 at 8:35:27 PM

district 9 had a pretty small budget as well, still looks better and is better all around that most of the schlock that comes out anymore
CelluloidMan writes:
on August 16th, 2012 at 8:40:29 PM

I really guessing it is too much money...only when the movie flops!! Yhen they lose the cash, thus wasting money, but it's a gamble, studios are gamblers!! It is that lucrative because of being risky & needs big bank to do it!!

But when they get it right (into the billions), they laugh all the way to the f*cking bank...
Ranger writes:
on August 16th, 2012 at 8:51:58 PM

@BC - lol.
mustardayonnaise writes:
on August 16th, 2012 at 8:54:16 PM

With the exception of the movies they're brought up, i'd say the budgets are what they are. first and foremost, the studios are going up against talent, repped by greedy-ass agents who will wring every f*cking penny they can- because they can. as long as the studio is willing to cough it up, and as long as asses fill seats in theaters, the budgets shall stay that way. pretty basic market dynamics...
mustardayonnaise writes:
on August 16th, 2012 at 8:57:42 PM

oh and @squirrelflyer, you're right, D9 looked great and only cost about $30mil, but it had lots of help from a discretionary budget that WETA spent on developing props/sets/etc. for a Halo film. So it had some help.
bandolero999 writes:
on August 16th, 2012 at 8:57:50 PM

Green Lantern is another example of an overpriced movie and it was half-ass entertaining.
Ranger writes:
on August 16th, 2012 at 9:04:14 PM

Green Lantern was impossible to see where the money went.
Ranger writes:
on August 16th, 2012 at 9:04:58 PM

And I'm a HUGE GL fan. I had as much hope (for decades) for that flick. Oa was good... hmmm... yesh, that's about it.
SACdaddy writes:
on August 16th, 2012 at 9:26:37 PM

Great topic, tough question. I'm no Hwood beancounter, so I wouldn't know the first thing about what cost what or how money is distributed for a production. All I know is how much they're paying the actors and that good CGI didn't come cheap. So really all I have to base my opinion on is the success of the film and how I feel about the end product. Basically, was the film worth it for me and for the audience.

What I do want to know is how the financial decisions are be made from the film's conception to its finalization.
SACdaddy writes:
on August 16th, 2012 at 9:34:29 PM


Who decides that this film deserves this amount money? I see some of the worst concepts for film get huge production buyers without any thought while other much better products have to beg to get financed. How the f*ck does the Totall Recall remake get $150m budget when no other Arnold remake has come close to covering those costs at the box office and it has no star power to drive revenue? Who is making these calls and why do they still have a job that awesome?
SACdaddy writes:
on August 16th, 2012 at 9:36:33 PM

production "budgets"

God I hate smart phones.
SpookyCupcakes writes:
on August 16th, 2012 at 9:43:52 PM

When a film like district 9 can have the effects it did for 80 million, there's absolutely no reason why Avatar should cost 250 mil.

Also, just non special effects films cost way too f*cking much. Pulp Fiction was made for 8 million, talk about smart spending.
Ranger writes:
on August 16th, 2012 at 10:28:35 PM

Star Wars (#4... the REAL #1 - 1977) was made for $10mil.

struck21 writes:
on August 16th, 2012 at 10:46:01 PM

All Disney movies are proof of this being wrong. Besides Pirates,which could be Johnny in a tube acting drunk and would make $500 million for some reason.
holtlt writes:
on August 17th, 2012 at 12:45:17 AM

Still, J.J. Abrams uses the budget to do good movies, not trash like Michael Bay.
hollafoadolla writes:
on August 17th, 2012 at 12:58:30 AM

Maybe he should take a stand at the cost of movie tickets instead.$12.50 for a f*cking movie ticket. Ridiculous.
Barney Stinson writes:
on August 17th, 2012 at 1:26:04 AM

"I feel like it is inc*mbent upon filmmakers today to treat it like their own money."

Great quote and totally agree with it.
MovieQueen87 writes:
on August 17th, 2012 at 2:49:52 AM

Maybe if actors and movie studios won't so greedy movie tix would be cheaper. Also, the movie "Monsters" only cost $500,000 but went on to make $4.2 million, and was a good movie too
Rambo writes:
on August 17th, 2012 at 3:07:46 AM

i think these children have the answer:

Dan1382 writes:
on August 17th, 2012 at 4:25:50 AM

No, there's just no originality in films anymore! It's all reboots of films that were only out a year ago, prequels of classic movies that end up spoiling the experience you had when you watched the original (e.g. Star Wars!) and sequels of recent films that just don't matter!
Damon242 writes:
on August 17th, 2012 at 5:05:35 AM

The only reason they spend the amount of money they do is because someone allows them to.

And hey, bigger budgets can help pay for the production team - and they could do with the money.

Another thing is that those in charge of these films just need to learn to shoot on location, instead of trying to recreate it elsewhere.
Cinemaisdead writes:
on August 17th, 2012 at 5:06:29 AM

Yes. I can see where the money goes in films like Star Trek" and "Mission: Impossible III" you'd expect them to have a big budget. But for a romantic comedy to cost 120 mil with only Paul Rudd and Reese Witherspoon to pay for that's just ridiculous. You can't say it was spent on marketing either because I've literalyl never heard of that film. Why would a director put that much pressure on himself if that was me I'd say to the studios "well you keep the 100 million, I probably won't spend the whole 20 million but I'll keep it just in case sh*t hits the fan and you won't crucify me if I don't make money for you, sweet!"
bane writes:
on August 17th, 2012 at 10:39:40 AM

ask that
greedy c*** james cameron
Ranger writes:
on August 17th, 2012 at 11:31:28 AM

@Rambo - Jesus. Do you how many of those kids _JB_ could eat on an empty stomach?!

Mr. Blonde writes:
on August 17th, 2012 at 6:03:47 PM

Some of the costs contributing to out of control movie budgets comes understandably from choosing the right set. To build or to find a location is the question. Film makers need to have complete control of their sets in order to maintain some sense of order. This is one reason why they create sets from scratch in some backlot. This set can be controlled from within, to name a few, its sensitive lighting design, capturing the right sound (also keeping outside sounds out), privacy, security (keeping a tight lid on a valued product like a Star Wars episode) and efficiency (keeping all of the workers confined to where they need to be to keep the production going instead of buzzing off and disappearing during their coffee breaks). Yes, it might cost a lot of money to recreate a street scape from say the old western frontierland. But the film makers hope to increase value during the production by having the set designs always there (maintaining constant conditions) and available 24/7 especially as some filming gets done in the early hours. The opposite side is finding an actual real city street to film. This entails closing off public access, restricting traffic flows, attracts on-lookers (crowd control issues), permits to film and a tighter window to get the filming done right or else the need to extend the shoot (more expenses getting out of control).

Recall the sci-fi movie Monsters 2010 was cleverly made on a very limited budget (film equipment $15,000 and overall budget less than $500,000). Settings were real locations often used without seeking permission (nice), and film extras were simply locals present at the time of the shoot. Now that's very resourceful shoe string film making. But look at the overall results - a very decent film. I think more and more value for production that yield positive results will become an issue to be considered when these Directors make their films. While it is refreshing to see newer directors like Gareth Edwards (Monsters) and Neill Blomkamp (D9) create amazing films for a fraction of the usual price, one wonders how much excess fat and rip off occur from the traditional Hollywood mainstream.
bane writes:
on August 17th, 2012 at 9:16:55 PM

@ Mr Blonde

real clever film
the kind of film AVATAR should have been

sci fi
you can watch again and again


i love that scene
where the 2 are looking over
all the people holding candles
the music in that scene
jaw dropping
minkowski writes:
on August 17th, 2012 at 9:39:29 PM

It's gambling you can control. You invest x and get 2x or 3x or whatever. You lose some, you win some, but unlike in Vegas, you can control the odds. You're the house. And so far, it's working. Studios are posting record profits, so who is JJ Abrams to complain? He acts like he gets a profit-share if he saves the studio some cash.

In the end, make as much money as you can. Cut costs that don't impact production. That's it. At the end of the fiscal year, tally the results. If you made more money than last year, congratulations.

That's it. No magic, no mystery.

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